I leave my new-used jeep at Taber Street Auto to be inspected and walk to Wegman’s for my favorite warm-hot bagel of the day. I pass by what I assume is a homeless man, a large backpack strapped to his back. I read “SEEKing Human Kindness” blackened in bold letters on a cardboard sign held to his side.
I may be 100 feet ahead of him when I change my mind from bagels to walking back to whom I learn is Steven. I ask if he is homeless and needs some help. He says he is trying to get back home to San Diego, California.
I tell him, “I like your sign a lot!” and for once in my life I do not ask WHY he chose those words. Later, I realized I was more engaged with his kind eyes underneath a red bandana. I gave him 5 dollars and wished him well.
While writing at Wegmans, saying “Yum” out loud to my hot sesame bagel, I remember that I did not bring the license plates I am transferring to my new used jeep. “Oh shit!” pops out like my automatic transmission in the third of six gears.
When I arrive home, I easily remove the screws to place CRYBABE on the front and back of my jeep COMPASS, changing my mindful direction from feeling disappointed in my forgetfulness to pride for screwing on the plates myself.
Part II – Over the years, decades, it seems I have changed my mind like the movement of a snail. Thirty-eight years is too long to free myself of our family’s religious addiction – controlled by fear of hell if you do not accept Jesus as your savior. Finally, I could no longer believe in the literal biblical ‘truth’ that love can be felt while engaged with fear.
Still, the trauma of not trusting my own feelings and therefore truth super-imposed itself like a scar, not being able to accept ‘prayer’ as a positive, because prayers in church were built on rote phrases like: in Jesus name, thy will be done, or I am not worthy, a song I played on the piano by memory.
Spring of 2022 I reached for a book I had begun in 1996 and set back on the bookshelf, after reading a few untouching paragraphs. This year Larry Dossey, MD pumps my heart with truths that allow me to say I pray, like for safe journeys which I have asked for throughout the years. And, with many greatfullnesses!
“Love released. Without it, prayers don’t dissolve…prayers are not something I do or say, but something I feel…It’s what we are,” writes Larry in Prayer is Good Medicine. Walt Whitman wrote, “children are prayer,” because of their genuineness and innocence.